Dr Sim read from his text; it was ‘deliberate’, Chong argues against Asfia’s ruling to dismiss motion

Chong (left) addressing the press conference with Violet Yong.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 26: Dato Sri Dr Sim Kui Hian has ‘deliberately’ misled the august House by saying the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) Federal government had not allocated any funds for affordable housing in Sarawak, reading from his prepared speech.

This was raised by Padungan assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen in defense of Speaker of the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) Tan Sri Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar’s ruling that the former’s motion against Dr Sim was out of order for missing the word ‘deliberately’.

“Deliberate or otherwise, it is a matter of evidence. And on the face of it, the deliberate (intention) was there, because he (Dr Sim) read it out from his prepared text,” said Chong during a press conference on the sidelines of the DUN sitting here today.

On Asfia’s reference to Erskine May that “motions for debate should not generally exceed 250 words in length”, Chong whose motion contained 373 words, said it does not state that it is an absolute requirement for any motion to be less than 250 words for it to be in order.

“I still remember many years ago, the late (Tan Sri Dr) James (Jemut) Masing moved a motion which consisted of 500 words, and it was allowed. So, there is no absolute prohibition that the number of words for any motion should be less than 250 (words),” he said.

Chong had tabled this motion under Standing Order 23(2)(p), proposing for Dr Sim to retract his statement about the PH government and apologise to the august House, failing which Dr Sim be referred to the Committee of Privileges for contempt.

Dr Sim, in his ministerial winding-up speech yesterday (May 25), stated that in 2019, the PH-DAP (Democratic Action Party) government had not allocated any funding for affordable housing in Sarawak despite housing being on the concurrent list, meaning under the jurisdiction of both federal and the Sarawak governments.

In Chong’s defense, he said in 2019 there were two ongoing PR1MA housing projects in Sarawak namely the Residensi Matang Homes & Residensi Matang Premier, and Residensi Bintawa Riverfront, that were funded by the Federal government.

“The key handover of the apartment units under the Matang Homes project to the purchasers commenced on Sept 24, 2019 whereas the key handover of the apartment units under the Bintawa Riverfront project commenced on Aug 3, 2020.

“So, it is impossible that there were no allocations for these PR1MA housing projects,” he said. — Dayakdaily